Cindy McCain Rolls Up Her Sleeves

The poised, wealthy wife isn't what she seems: Just ask her about her hard-core aid work in Rwanda — and the bath she once took in a catfish tank.

William Thomas Cain
Cindy McCain has the chilly, blonde beauty of someone who lives in fear of chipping a nail — not someone who's been doing relief work on the ground in places like El Salvador for more than two decades. But then, as Marie Claire learned, John McCain's wife is full of surprises (who knew she was addicted to Xbox).

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Marie Claire: You're a race-car driver, a former rodeo queen...

Cindy McCain:

MC: You're also an heiress to a Budweiser distributorship, with impeccable style and a reserve that some have called standoffish.

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MC: You recently returned from Rwanda, and you're involved with a number of humanitarian agencies. What sparked your relief work?

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MC: What was the first rough spot you visited?

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MC: Angelina Jolie or Mother Theresa?

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MC: How did you come to adopt Bridget, who's now 17?

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MC: So was it a "Honey, look what I've done"?

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MC: Celebrities always make overseas adoptions look so easy. But families often complain about the arduous process. Is there a double standard?

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MC: What do you want women here to know, about your relief work and about what you've seen around the world?

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MC: The places you've worked aren't exactly garden spots. What's the roughest it's gotten?

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MC: So would we see Cindy McCain on the weekend in battered old jeans, slumming it?

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MC: Who's your favorite designer?

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MC: What's your most regrettable outfit?

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MC: And your favorite outfit?

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MC: How do you deal with the negative things that come out in campaigns, like the rumor that was floated in 2000 that Bridget was in fact John's illegitimate daughter?

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MC: Both of your sons are in the military; Jimmy, your youngest, fought with the Marines in Iraq. What was it like to see a son off to war?

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MC: What was his homecoming like?

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MC: What did you do as a family? Was it a quiet night?

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MC: I heard that when you were in Vietnam recently, you found yourself in the same hospital room where your husband was taken after he was shot down. How did that feel? Surreal, or all too real?

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MC: Did you get a chill?

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MC: You met your husband after his POW days. To what extent is that still with you — or is it a part of history?

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MC: But no cold sweats in the middle of the night?

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MC: Your husband compares Barack Obama to a celebrity, while portraying himself as the more serious candidate. If you were to compare your husband to a celebrity, who would it be?

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MC: In a recent interview with Marie Claire, your husband said it would be Kiefer Sutherland from 24.

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MC: So, barring political celebrities, if it were a Hollywood celebrity...

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MC: Unflappable is another word that's attributed to you. When was the last time you lost your cool?

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MC: What's your favorite curse word?

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MC: Your husband's temper is legendary in Washington. What does he tend to get mad about?

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MC: But never at home?

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MC: You recently found yourself in the hospital after your hand was crushed by an overzealous supporter. So how do you like campaigning?

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MC: On the issue of being handled by image-makers, I read that you'd recently changed your hairstyle.

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MC: You were addicted to painkillers in the early '90s. What's your advice to others?

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MC: For most of your husband's career, you've chosen to live in Arizona, largely out of the limelight. How do you two make that work?

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MC: But you've had a busy professional life as well. It must have been difficult to juggle this.

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MC: Have you ever met Michelle Obama?

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MC: Your impression?

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MC: As the wife of a candidate, do you sympathize with her, or is that taking the notion of sisterhood too far?

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MC: You've been doing humanitarian work for many years, but many people don't know about it. Do you need to be more of a loudmouth?

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MC: What would be your priority as first lady?

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MC: Raising awareness?

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MC: What's your guilty pleasure?

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Deadliest Catch, Mega Movers.Dirty Jobs.

MC: Are you an Xbox geek as well?

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MC: Bud Light or chardonnay?

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MC: You actually drink Budweiser?

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MC: If elected, your husband will be 72, and he'll have four or even eight years in the White House. Does a part of you secretly hope that he'd retire?

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MC: No.

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Sam Dealey is a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report and Reader's Digest, and a former Wall Street Journal editor.

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